Marshall Fire: Colorado’s Most Destructive Fire was Composed of 2 Fires

Colorado Wildfire Burning landscape

Marshall Fire: Colorado’s Most Destructive Fire was Composed of 2 Fires

The Marshall Fire that destroyed hundreds of homes December 2021 within Boulder County was recently reported of consisting of two fires with separate origins.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office gave an update on CBS News regarding the cause of the most destructive fire in Colorado history.  In the update the first fire’s origin was stated to having started on a property at 5325 Eldorado Springs Drive six days prior to the Marshall Fire, composed of tree branches on December 24th. The fire was deemed as no longer actively burning by firefighters with Mountain View Fire at that time, due to the covering of the fire with dirt and other measures taken to extinguish the fire.

However, this was not the case as the fire continued to smolder for days according to investigators. The people who lived on the property attempted to put out the fire once they realized it continued to burn on December 30th. Fueled by strong winds, the fire continued to spread. A second fire started south of the Marshall Mesa Trailhead about an hour later. The second fire was ignited by discharged hot articles from an Xcel Energy powerline.

6,080 acres burned in the fire, killing two people. An estimated thirty-five thousand people were evacuated and thousands of animals died.

The district attorney stated that no criminal charges would be filed in connection with the Marshall Fire investigation.

Xcel Energy released a statement regarding the Marshall Fire following a news conference in which they stated “We strongly disagree with any suggestion that Xcel Energy’s powerlines caused the second ignition.”

Governor Jared Polis signed nearly a dozen bills into law aimed at fire recovery and prevention. The obstacles homeowners have faced attempting to rebuild were pointed out. Polis states that the new laws will assist both current and future fire victims and is the “first-of-its-kind” legislation aimed at addressing under-insurance. The legislation requires insurers to offer homeowners additional coverage for things like inflation and building code upgrades. It also requires the Colorado Division of Insurance to release an annual report providing estimates of what it would cost to rebuild a home based on where it is located.

Unfortunately, of the Marshall Fire victims, only 8% had enough insurance to replace their homes. FEMA approved $4.3 million in funding for the Marshall Fire recovery in April 2023. The funding will cover 90% of the recovery cost. Additionally, the City of Louisville has received $1.4 million from FEMA to provide safety, life, and health support during the fire. Emergency support costs were covered by the fund for search and rescue operations, firefighting, Emergency Operations Center, and safety testing for the water supply of the city.

$2.8 million was also disbursed by FEMA to the Town of Superior. The Marshall Fire caused severe damage to Superior’s reservoir, creating a threat to the public.

Marshall Fire lawsuits are already being pursued on behalf of those impacted by the fires. The total estimated damage from the Marshall Fire is roughly $2 billion total. The homes lost, businesses destroyed and lives upended were significant. Not to mention the environmental impact of the fire. These wildfire lawsuits are focused on Xcel Energy, as the utility giant’s malfunctioning equipment was found as a source of one of the two fires that made up the larger Marshall Fire.

These lawsuits will focus on how homeowners, residents, business owners and others the path of the destruction were impacted. Seeking compensation in wildfire lawsuits is never easy, making it necessary to have a qualified fire litigation attorney.

If you were involved or affected by the Marshall Fire, contact Singleton Schreiber to explore your options for seeking compensation.